Pete St John, composer of ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Dublin in the Rare Old Times’, dies aged 90


When fans of Irish football and football re-enacted The Fields of Athenry, it was a fitting tribute to its creator, musician Pete St. John, who passed away in Dublin yesterday at the age of 90.

est is known for what has become a sports anthem, the song was first recorded in 1979 and was a hit by Paddy Reilly. He also wrote Dublin in rare old timesS.

“He’s a great musician and storyteller, he’s one of the greats in our business,” said Donie Cassidy, who co-wrote the Charlie Haughey election song. Rise and follow Charlie with him, as the campaign anthem for the 1982 General Election.

His most famous song, Athenry Fields, has been sung worldwide by Irish and international folk groups, including Dubliners, as well as used in films such as Association of Dead Poets and television productions. The song’s royalties alone enabled him to live comfortably for the latter part of his life.

It also allowed him the luxury of long lunches at his own table, number 24, in Beaumont House in north Dublin, where he stood trial with his great friend Jim O’Connor and where delightful guests You are invited to join the lunch and listen with his stories and jokes.

He always does things with slow consideration and knows exactly how he wants them done.

“We’ll eat our food and then talk,” he often tells his guests,

“Because you can’t do two things at once.”

Peter Mooney was born in Inchicore, Dublin, on January 31, 1932, he was educated at Scoil Mhuire and Synge Street CBS.

He recalls an idyllic childhood, wandering freely and learning to play guitar and sing under the influence of one of his teachers.

He was an electrician before immigrating to Canada.

He also worked in construction in Washington, DC, where he owned a home for many years.

During his time there, he was involved in renovation work at the White House.

Although he is best known as a musician, he is also a musician and singer in his own right, touring extensively in Ireland, Europe and the United States.

His concerts are a mix of songs, mostly written by himself, and stories.

He has a great interest in Irish history.

During one of our conversations, he told me that when he returned from a tour not long before Christmas 1983, his wife, Sue, said to him: “You’d better look at myself in a better way,” alluding to his ballad lifestyle. . He never drank again.

His songwriting is meticulous and careful.

“What you need is a simple chorus, a tune that everyone can sing and the rest will take care of itself,” he once said.

It worked, and as a result, he left himself with a lasting legacy of songs.

He is also an avid campaigner for the special Famine Day celebration, which became a reality when it was approved by the government 16 years later. He describes himself as “a nationalist” politically.

In the years that followed, he suffered from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and at the end of 2018 was bedridden and subsequently had brain surgery, which kept him in Beaumont Hospital for 10 weeks.

His wife died in 2010. He is survived by two sons, Kieron and Brian. Pete St John, composer of ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Dublin in the Rare Old Times’, dies aged 90

Fry Electronics Team

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